False teachers ensnare others with the twist of the truth with their lies. They are doing the work of Satan who is the father of all lies. It is instructive for us to consider the tactics of the enemy of our souls. For us to know our enemy we must examine his work exposed for us in the Holy Scriptures, the glorious Word of God, the Bible.
We remember from the gospels the account of the devil’s tempting Christ with his lies. But how did he do this? He did this by presenting the truth from the Word of God and then twisting it for his own destructive purposes.
1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son f God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Luke 4:1-4
The enemy tempted Jesus Christ with His physical need for food. Oftentimes the enemy of our souls will tempt and trap us with our normal human needs. One that is particularly useful in his arsenal of deception is our need to be accepted and loved by others. Satan uses this powerful tactic to raise up multitudes of compromisers who will go along to get along because they desire the approval of others. So we have vast numbers of so-called Christians who will not stand up for the truth and oppose error. They don’t want to be alienated from those who are more important to them than the Living God, Jesus Christ. Many who have apparent ministries to the so-called Christians, will not call out the liars and deceivers because they love the applause of men, and the rewards that come with that, rather than the approval of God. They would rather hear an atta-boy than “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
We are all tempted with this deceitful deception; how do we overcome this desire to be loved and accepted by others that can lead us to compromise the truth? We follow our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and hold to the truth of the Scriptures. There are a couple of Scriptures that the Lord has used in my life to help me to stand faithful and true to Him, even though this has caused separation from those “Christians” who claimed to be my friends.
17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. Romans 16:17
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11
When we follow Christ and obey His Word He will provide us with everything that we need to avoid and expose the deception of the enemy. We will hear from our Beloved God and Savior, Jesus Christ, “Well, done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of My Father”. I would much rather hear those glorious words from the lips of my Savior, than have the workers of iniquity place the deceitful kisses of the enemy upon my cheek. How about you?
Let us continue in our study of the nature of deception and some of the ways that Satan tries to destroy us. Here is the second time the devil tempted our Victorious Lord Jesus Christ.
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Luke 4:5-8
Exposed here is another powerful weapon of the enemy of our souls who has brought many sincere and godly men down to destruction because of their lust for power and prestige. The kingdom of our glorious Lord and Savior has nothing at all whatsoever to do with the kingdoms of this world, which are ruled by the devil. All nations are at odds with God because of the sin nature that rules the wills of all men. No nation is a nation of God. All are corrupt and evil. This is why the United States is not mentioned in the Bible, it is a part of this fallen world system ruled by the devil.
The words spoken by our Savior Jesus Christ to Satan were also spoken to His apostle Peter, when Peter sought to deter Jesus Christ from going to the cross to perform the work given to Him by the Father, the saving work upon the cross to redeem and reconcile sinners to God, alienated from God by their sinful rejection of Him and His rule.
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Matthew 16:21-27
Many within evangelical church and ministries surreptitiously follow what Peter said to his Master above. They are establishing the world’s ways as the way of the church, rather than following the biblical commands regarding the church’s establishment and work in this world. They are following the world’s definition of the gospel, rather than God’s declaration of the gospel given in the Scriptures. They are seeking to gain the world at the expense of their souls.
The Gospel Coalition is comprised of such men who are compromisers and apostates, following the deceptive ways of the devil, rather than the manifestation of the truth. Many esteemed Christian leaders are on the Gospel Coalition or work in fellowship with the Gospel Coalition. They ignore and suppress the truth that co-founder Timothy Keller is a false teacher. The Gospel Coalition was founded by Keller with D. A. Carson and has John Piper, Alistar Begg, Mark Dever, Erwin Lutzer, Russell Moore and Al Mohler on the council board. In a 2009 address during the Shepherd’s Conference on March 6, Phil Johnson included the Gospel Coalition as a group that works together with the Shepherd’s Conference for sound doctrine. No mention of Keller’s apostasy can be found on the GTY website. This demonstrates that all of these evangelical leaders, churches, and ministries are willing to compromise and apostatize from the truth for their own worldly kingdoms that have nothing at all whatsoever to do with Christ’s glorious kingdom.
So how do we, as believers in Jesus Christ, avoid this deceptive weapon that has been used so effectively against so many? We follow the examples of our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His apostles and prophets laid down for our edification in the Scriptures. We worship God alone and follow Jesus Christ, willing to suffer reproach and even death for His name.
29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” 33 When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them…40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:29-33 & 40-42
May God grant us such all-encompassing zeal and steadfastness for our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ and His marvelous gospel of salvation from sin and eternal judgment through repentant faith in Him and belief that He died upon the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead for our justification. Amen!
Our final example of the way the enemy of our souls uses deception to trap the unwary is given for us in the final temptation of Christ. In it we see Satan using God’s Word as a means to tempt our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to presumptuously sin against His God and Father.
9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ 11 and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” 13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. 14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. Luke 4:9-14
The enemy brazenly tempted Jesus Christ the Son of God to sin against the Father by using His own Word against Him. Beloved, realize the devil will use God’s Word, twisting it to lead you astray and lead you into sin. He does this because many are not sufficiently versed in the Scriptures so they can spot the lie of the enemy being perpetrated by the unscriptural use of the very Word of God. All false teachers and all Christian false teaching uses the Word of God taken out of context and stripped of its scriptural meaning for deception, because so many are not like the noble Bereans seeing if such things are true, looking at the employed Scripture in its context to see if it is taught according to the truth. All false teachers lead the unsuspecting believer to think they must listen to them to know and understand the Scriptures, to get God’s blessings. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit Who is Himself our teacher, teaching us the truth from the Bible as we study and rightly divide the Word of God by studying it in the context of both the passage and all of Scripture. Beloved we must follow the example of Jesus Christ our glorious Lord and Savior and know God’s Word. We must spend much time in the Scriptures so we can know and use the truth as our weapon against the deceptive ploys of the devil and be strengthened in our most holy faith.
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:15-19
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; Ephesians 6:17
Jesus Christ effectively used the Word of God as His weapon against the destructive deceptive devices of the devil, and we are commanded to do the same. To do that we must know His Word by studying, reading, and hiding His Word in our hearts. Many a time the Holy Spirit has brought to my remembrance God’s glorious Word right when I needed it. Just as Satan left Jesus until an opportune time, so to, we will have respite from the attacks of the enemy, but he is always watching for opportunities to make us fall. Just as Jesus went forward in the power of the Holy Spirit to serve His Father after He had extinguished every attack of Satan, so too, when we have stood firm for the truth, our Lord and Savior will equip us through the Holy Spirit to serve Him.
We should not lose heart over the apostasy within the church or the advance of the enemy. We have been warned in Scripture that such would be the case. Instead we should humble ourselves before our mighty God and trust Him is these desperately deceptive days, and wait for our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ to come from heaven for us. Amen!
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11
Lord Jesus Christ, You are our Faithful Shepherd, May you lead us in Your triumph over the enemy as we stand steadfast for you. We may suffer and die, but may our living and dying bring glory to You. Amen!
Here is a link to an excellent article by Brother Cloud about Tim Keller. Please read this so you are not deceived by Satan’s deception.